clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Are power pitchers getting squeezed?

New, 3 comments
Greg Fiume

Everyone loves watching power hitters go to work, but in terms of getting called strikes is it possible that they are actually getting squeezed? This is something that I haven't really thought about, but David Golebiewski, of Baseball Analytics, looks at this very thing. The research can be seen here.

The harder you throw, the better your results. Batters missed about 27% of the time that they swung at a fastball thrown 98 MPH or harder last year. By contrast, hitters whiffed at less than half that rate against fastballs lobbed under 90 MPH. But what happens when hitters don't swing? It looks like power pitchers are actually at a disadvantage compared to their soft-tossing brethren. The harder you throw, the smaller your strike zone from the umpire.

Pitchers that are throwing between 86-88 MPH are getting strikes called strikes in the zone about 84% of the time. On the other hand, pitchers that touch 98 MPH+ are getting called strikes only 75% of the time. If we look at called strikes out of the zone, pitchers who throw 86-88 MPH get strikes called 12% of the time, while their counterparts get strikes called 7% of the time.

That doesn't mean that the slower pitchers are more effective. Quite the opposite, actually. Batters slugged 200 points higher against slower pitchers. Batters also swung more at faster pitchers, so the called strike percentage isn't as significant.

Question for the community:

1) In regards to this study what would you look into next?